“Can I buy or sell a house without a solicitor?” Grigor & Young have newspaper cuttings books back to the 19th century, and that’s how one cutting from the mid-1980s is headlined. The body text continues: “In theory, you can do much of the work yourself. In theory, you can also remove your own appendix – given a sharp knife, a reliable textbook and a bit of practice.” Seth Godin picked up on this theme of expertise in a post on his daily blog. He asked: “Okay, how hard can it be? (to be an expert). Actually, it might be very hard. Actually, expertise has value. Actually, just because someone said it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Or useful.” What’s the chance you’d be able to do such conveyancing or (especially) surgery yourself? Limited, you would think. Less than 10%? Less than 1%? And a small chance is what you would expect to have, in general, if you were hoping to overturn a finding of 10% contributory negligence in a personal injury Continue Reading
Avoiding losing money on your personal injury claim
It makes no sense to behave in a way that any claim you have for personal injury is reduced through your own conduct.
The articles listed below deal in some way with things you can do - or should consider - to avoid your compensation damages being reduced below an otherwise "fair" level.
When someone is seriously injured in an accident, the effect does not stop with that person. In order to get a person’s life back on track after an accident, their family may need a lot of support too. Problems can pile up quickly. If the injured person is incapacitated – maybe in a coma – the rest of their family may soon be in crisis. How are your bills going to be paid? How are your children going to cope? Particular issues which can cause overwhelming strain include the inability to get access to the incapacitated person’s bank account in order that the day-to-day running of the family household can be maintained. These are problems you can plan for. And, even if you have not planned, there are still things you can do to overcome the difficulties. In this article, we’ll look at what you can do to plan for unexpected events such as this. We’ll then go on to look at what options you have to recover the situation if you need to try to sort things out after such a Continue Reading
Do you know what a thagomizer is? The thagomizer is an arrangement of 4 to 10 spikes on the tails of dinosaurs such as the Stegosaurus. The pointy bits provided a defensive weapon against predators. Stegosaurus was a herbivore. With a toothless beak and small teeth, it was not designed to eat flesh. Legendary cartoonist, Gary Larson, coined the term ‘thagomizer’ in his 1982 image of a caveman giving a PowerPoint presentation to colleagues and telling them it was so-called “after the late Thag Simmons”. Poor Thag. ‘Thagomizer’ has come to be adopted as an informal anatomical term. It’s used on the Stegosaurus display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.. Clearly, Stegosaurus had a mighty sting in the tail, if required. Personal injury claims can have a sting in the tail too, if you don’t watch out. The cruel defence is one of ‘delay’. Wait too long and your claim will become unenforceable and lost forever. As we have discussed elsewhere, the Continue Reading
Scottish solicitors’ firms have to do formal risk management training every year. This is particularly to minimise the risk of making mistakes which might mean we end up getting sued because of losses we might cause to our clients. We had a recent session in our Elgin office where the “system” to assess risks in our work on a daily basis was summarised as: Stop and think Do as you have been told (i.e. we have a lot of systems and procedures already for managing risk) Repeat one and two Everything looks clear with hindsight. You want to avoid looking back on things with regret, if possible. It can be especially annoying if, due to not “stopping and thinking”, you make a silly error which results in a loss to you personally or to your workplace. It’s a bit like that with personal injury claims and, from our perspective, there is an avoidable mistake many injured people make at the start of their personal injury claim. It causes financial loss to them. It’s not Continue Reading
Sylvester Stallone’s big break as a movie star came with the 1976 film, Rocky. However, his own story is as inspirational as that of the boxer he played on screen. Stallone had a troubled upbringing, spending a lot of time in foster care. In his 20s, at one point, he was so hard up that he had to sell his dog. He wrote the first draft of Rocky after watching a boxing match in which an unknown and unfancied fighter lasted a full 15 rounds against world champion, Muhammad Ali. Film studios were very interested in the script but not with Stallone in the starring role. Nevertheless, he held out. Even when one studio offered him $325,000 for the script alone - at that time, the highest amount ever offered for a script – he did not waver. In the end, he got his wish. The purchase price for the script was only $35,000 (and the movie was reduced to a low budget production) but Stallone got the lead role. Rocky was a massive hit, winning an Oscar for best picture - and Continue Reading
“Idiot insurance scammer fails miserably with fake ‘ice on floor’ fall”. That was one description of 57-year-old New Jersey man Alexander Goldinsky’s apparent attempt to stage a “slipping on ice cubes” accident in his work canteen. The incident – which happened sometime in the second half of 2018 - was captured on CCTV. Allegedly, he then filed a false insurance claim for the ambulance service and treatment he received at a local hospital for his "injuries" and the outcome was that he faced a criminal prosecution for fabricating the claim. Clearly, the USA is not Scotland but did you know that... ...within the UK, Scottish personal injury claimants are most likely to put forward exaggerated or fraudulent claims? This view has been expressed in the legal press by solicitors whose job it is represent the interests of insurers in defending personal injury compensation claims. Reforms to the law in England and Wales have meant that, in some claims where the injured person has Continue Reading
Some say The Blue Nile are the greatest ever Scottish band. Though they only ever released 4 albums - between 1984 and 2004 - they maintained a consistently high standard throughout. Their music has a spare, cinematic quality which blends perfectly with Paul Buchanan’s soulful and world-weary voice. The Blue Nile’s 1989 release, Hats, has topped some polls to find the best Scottish album of all time. I listened to that album a lot when it came out - I was a student then - and I still listen to it often even now. The fact is, they almost never got a recording contract at all and took an unusual route to achieve that end. Around 1983, a top-of-the-range Glasgow-based hi-fi company called Linn Products found that their equipment’s sales prospects were boosted if they used music from the band’s demo tape when demonstrating Linn’s music systems to potential customers. When Linn discovered The Blue Nile were unsigned, they decided they would sort them with a record deal by Continue Reading
Success fees are the “hidden cost” of personal injury claims. They reduce the amount of compensation you receive from a personal injury claim after that compensation figure has been fixed and paid. Success fees are fees that are paid out of compensation (awarded or agreed) by successful personal injury claimants to their solicitors or claims management companies under a success fee agreement. In this article, we will look at how the Scottish Government wishes to regulate the maximum levels of success fee that can be charged – to provide a better financial outcome for injured people than they often get at present. First of all, in order to understand the context in which this is all happening, we need to look at wider changes that will soon affect Scottish personal injury claims. The Scottish Government intends to change the way personal injury claims are run in Scotland. This follows similar changes brought in in England and Wales. One big proposed change is to reduce Continue Reading
The law in the UK does not require pedal cyclists to wear a helmet. What this means is that you won’t be stopped by the police if you fail to wear a cycle helmet. You won’t be prosecuted under the criminal law. On the other hand, Rule 59 of the Highway Code categorises cyclists as vulnerable road users and advises that cyclists ‘should wear a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened’. The Highway Code is relevant to both criminal and civil law. Claims for personal injury compensation are civil claims for damages, so the Highway Code is relevant. Many cyclists ride without a helmet. Only just over a third of cyclists using major urban roads wore cycle helmets, according to research findings of the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory in 2008. Equivalent research in Germany apparently showed that only 11 % of cyclists in towns and cities wear a cycle helmet. Cycle helmets have to comply with a European standard. This Continue Reading
The modern car seatbelt was invented by a former aviation engineer, whose experience included working on ejector seats. By 1959, cars had seatbelts but only two-point waist restraints. In a car accident, this often did the wearer as much harm as good. Volvo engineer, Nils Bohlin, created a design which anchored the straps low beside the seat. This meant that the geometry of the belts formed a “V” - pointing at the floor – and that the belt would remain in place and not shift under sudden loading. Such a significant advance in driver and passenger safety could have netted Volvo a fortune on the patent. Instead, they gave it away. They decided that the invention was so revolutionary that its value should not profit their company but be a free, life-saving tool. In the world of personal injury claims, if you fail to wear a seat belt and are injured in a road traffic accident, you don’t expect to be free from blame. As we’ve examined elsewhere on this website, UK personal injury Continue Reading
There are those who predicted that the years from 2010 to 2020 would become known as the "transparency" decade, in which no one would be able to "live a lie". It is perhaps not turning out to be as clear-cut as it might have seemed then, especially when we are having such issues with fake news and the apparent smokescreens created by certain people and organisations in positions of power. It is hard to remember that there was once a time when you did not always know what your friends were up to. A time long ago when, in order to hear their news, you would need to phone them or arrange to meet them face-to-face. Since Facebook began in 2004 and Twitter in 2006, there has been an explosion in the use of social media. On the internet, something like 1400 blog posts are produced every minute. Dozens of hours of video are uploaded per minute. And tens of thousands of images are shared every minute. Facebook data from May 2016 indicated that there were 36.45 million users in the Continue Reading
As a chocolate lover, my taste is more for milk chocolate and white chocolate than for dark chocolate. If dark chocolate is married with another flavour, such as mint, I’m a big fan but, on its own, I’ll always prefer the other varieties of chocolate, if I can get them. With 100% dark chocolate, it means that all the ingredients have come from the cocoa bean. 100% dark chocolate is not to everyone’s taste because of its intense bitterness. In the world of personal injury claims, an area where ‘100%’ could leave an intensely bitter taste in your mouth is in relation to contributory negligence. What is contributory negligence? In the usual case, contributory negligence is where it’s accepted by the other party or their insurers that you should get some compensation for your losses. The catch is that they say it was partly due to your own fault that you got injured – so your full compensation should be reduced by a percentage to reflect your share of the blame. In Continue Reading